First-person shooter

The object of the game is not to kill people, but to eliminate, in order of significance and severity, the fashion mistakes made by each character you encounter.

For instance, you see a banker in a dark gray suit, with a silver-blue tie wearing very light, reddish-tan two-tone suede shoes and carrying a black umbrella. You, of course, shoot at the shoes, cycling the shoe selector icon until it shows a nice pair of conservative black wingtips. I’m not saying that I like the wingtips better—this isn’t a question regarding taste, I am simply saying that statistically, certain shoes match certain costumes of employment better than others.

At the highest levels of the game, you will compete in Aoyama and Nakanoma against global hipster-champions wrestling for the crown of chicest-shooter. As you undoubtedly know, an American has never won the title, even with the repeated undercover algorithmic cracks by the media lab. But don’t feel bad, just focus on the clothes, the attitude of each character and you’ll get the hang of it. Plus, as I’ve heard, you’ve come highly recommended. You don’t have to tell me, but you’ve spent some time in Kowloon, Tokyo and Paris, haven’t you? Also I’ve heard rumors of Marrakech and London, where else—God, I’d love to know the training schedule of the national team. Particularly the knock-offs and look-a-likes triage clinic. It must be something.

We have learned of a few fashion traps, some are a little out-dated, but you might still spot them. Particularly, men wearing sandals with suits in the summer (evidently OK if the brand is young enough, and the sandals can be identified as being terrifically ironically procured from a discount department store). However, other sandals must be eliminated; cycle them through to an “urban walking shoe or original vintage track sneaker.” I am still concerned by our intelligence regarding the suit and sandal, because of all of that buzz about the “male gladiator sandal” scandal left over from last season, so judge the character, not the combo and shoot from the gut.

Also, there is no such thing as an ironic peasant top until, evidently, the very highest level, where it can be paired with extreme fashion, such as overlapping Farsi coca-cola t-shirts, shredded braided wetsuit skirts, or it seems, it’s OK if the top has been silk-screened over in clumps of—let me double check this—yes—thick yellow highway paint—otherwise, our reports state to immediately shoot all peasant tops and move on, as they are an easy way past the first two rounds. It was much harder last month, as things were still on the fence, important people in the been-seen-in database were still seen dragging them out. This month, however, there is a clear directive, so act accordingly.

Also, some double-ups and downs are seen in the third level—so don’t just shoot the whole lower body—but layer it through the skirt over pants over mini-apron over skirt over clamdiggers, etc. to get at the core problem in the layering combo section. Also, this is sometimes a way to solve other sections all at once, as changing out a mid-layer suddenly makes all others work well. It’s like tuning your stereo, instead of turning up both the treble and the bass, simply turn down the mid-tones and turn up the volume. You get the idea.

On the fourth level (an extended subway ride from Nolita to Carroll Gardens) you will be faced with gangs of characters—you must double triage the violations to see where to start. Also, it seems, certain combinations change “perceptual and contextual significance” by means of what the others are wearing. So it is a balancing act that requires a view of the whole as well as the individual’s unique combination. Look twice, look at the faces, look at the responses of the other characters while you are shooting. I have even heard of “shifters” that change their outfits mid-level after seeing a combination being altered on another character. So something that was wrong at the start of a level can, by means of the shifters, become right by the end. So trend-track as you go, it is a game where only the nimble and rigorous don’t get stuck.

In the final battle-royale, you will face off directly with the other chic-shooters. You will have to seek, copy and pervert elements of other character’s outfits to create a battle-outfit, which is then matched head-to-head against the other shooters. This again has been our weak point on the American team. Face to face battle-dressing, with the facial expressions and body-language of others supporting or denying an attempt—with the rapid fire fast exchanges, with the on the spot re-contextualizations, and the confidence training of wearing something and saying—yes—this is right now the battle-outfit that cannot be denied. Any look of insecurity will destroy you. There was a brief moment of the insecurity-as-weapon battle-look—that was an amazing season—but those days are gone. Right now it seems to be straight-ahead-up-for-it battle-dressing. But, what can I say, I’ve never been in the big show—I’m not sure what will happen—some sideways thought-look as of yet unseen. I have no idea. If things get rough, dig inside yourself and let it out. Throw shade and get it done. There is no fashion like the unpracticed urge of a personal experience. Give them what you’ve got.

Are you ready for an equipment check? Alright then, let’s run through the drills.